Do-Overs

Saturday was a day for redemption.

I published a post last month about a somewhat disappointing walking tour and an even more disappointing concert cancellation. Susan and I went on another walking tour entitled, “Law and Order E.C.” Our group was actually the first to preview this particular tour. Sometimes it’s not so bad being a guinea pig 🙂 Our guide, David Charnick, took us around the city and shared interesting moments in London’s crime and law enforcement history. He regaled us with tales of debtors prisons, terrorist acts both successful and un, John Tawell the “Quaker” poisoner (who’d been kicked out of the Quaker organization but spent his life trying to reenter in order to take advantage of their reputation as hard-working, trustworthy people and further his business dealings), and the origins of Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court. My favorite, though, was the account of Kitty Byron, mistress of Reginald Baker and convicted murderer, who avoided execution for stabbing ole Reggie to death (outside the post office, in full view of anyone who happened by) in 1902 by citing “provocation” in defense of her crime.

Whereas men were initially allowed to claim they had been provoked as their explanation for being violent towards the women in their lives, the tide changed as cases of domestic violence against women increased — and women started retaliating. By the time Kitty Byron decided to stab Reginald, the odds were definitely in her favor. (It also helped that Reggie-boy was known to have violently assaulted Kitty in the past.) The most interesting part of her story, however, came after the murder. She was sentenced to serve ten years in lieu of execution. After the first six years of her prison sentence, Kitty was moved to a rehab facility for female alcoholics and spent the remaining four years there. When her sentence was at an end, Kitty applied to stay on at Lady Henry Somerset’s Colony for Women Inebriates because she’d fallen in love with one of the nurses. According to our guide, she offered poison to the nurse with the idea that they could both take it and be together forever…in death. O.O The nurse, who was understandably freaked out by this, reported Kitty, whose request to stay was subsequently denied. Kitty then went to live with a female relative and afterwards, fell off the grid. Yowza, amirite?

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What remains of the original General Post Office.

What remains of the original General Post Office.

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This tour more than made up for the last one. If you’re in London and looking to learn some interesting facts about the city, I heartily recommend giving one of David’s tours a go. He’s highly knowledgeable and clearly passionate about his subject. After the walking tour, Susan and I took refuge from the cold inside the nearest pub where I had my first experience with potted meat.

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In this case, crab. I’d heard of potted meat before, but knew nothing of it. Apparently, before freezers, meats were preserved in jars beneath a solid layer of fat. My potted crab was shielded by a hard layer of butter that tasted a bit citrusy. Wish I’d gotten more bread with it (I was forced to slather the remaining crab on a sandwich I’d bought from Pret earlier). Susan had some tasty looking chicken wings and the best looking chips I’ve ever seen in my life (they tasted pretty good, too).

Blurry chicken is still good chicken.

Blurry chicken is still good chicken.

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After saying goodbye, I headed to Islington for Daley’s rescheduled concert. (YAYAYAYAYAY)

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His show was So. Good. His voice is even prettier live, plus he covered some R&B/neo soul favorites of mine. Between his performance and his pre-show DJ’s playlist, I basically flipped through memories of my entire life up to this point. I also got to stand right in front of the stage during the show, which has never happened to me before. It was wonderful. Then, this happened:

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…which I’m pretty stoked about.

My next bit of excitement will be flat-hunting (!!!) next Monday. My estate agent says she can find me a place to move into by January 31st (which is when I need to be out of my dorm), and she’s been pretty good about intuiting my needs thus far, so I trust her. Still…it’s a bit of a nail-biter, isn’t it?

Wish me luck!

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I (FINALLY) got my loan money last Friday, which means I got to take care of a few things that needed doing (paying for accommodation, buying a bus pass, buying…um…food?). But I ALSO got to give myself fun stuff to look forward to in the coming months. SO! In order of what’s coming up soonest, here zey arr:

OCTOBER
The Book of Mormon
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I have been wanting to see this for so. long. And now — next Tuesday @ 7:30PM to be exact — my dream is finally coming true. I’m all for equal opportunity ridicule, and apparently this show’s got it. I was never a big enough fan of South Park to watch it regularly, but it’s pretty funny. Team America is my jam, though, so I feel pretty safe trusting Trey Parker and Matt Stone to keep me entertained (and singing/laughing along) for hours.

Halloween in London
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OK, so this isn’t something I’ve bought anything for yet. However, it would be kinda hard to buy a costume and go to London with no money, so moolah definitely makes this possible. I haven’t decided what, if anything, to be this year, but past costumes include the Mad Hatter and a mime. I was a rag doll in 2011 (last time I dressed up), but I didn’t have the yarn wig to go with it, so people didn’t really have any clue as to who/what I was supposed to be. Anyhoo… I’m expecting Londontown during Halloween to be epic. Hope I’m right!

Mime Time, circa 2006

Mime Time, circa 2006

NOVEMBER
Sam Smith
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I’ve had Disclosure’s album Settle since it came out, but paid no attention to who Sam Smith was until near the end of last year. One of my best friends sent me the video of him doing an acoustic performance of his song “Nirvana,” and I lost it. I was like WHERE has this kid’s voice been all my life?!… when it turns out I’d already had a track on which he’s featured in my possession for months. *WOMPwomp* I actually bought my ticket for this show last year, so it doesn’t count as a Hallelujah-my-loan-is-here purchase, but it’s still something I’m really looking forward to. He’s playing the Eventim Apollo November 6th & 7th. My eardrums will melt and my vocal chords will have disintegrated by the end of this show.

Day trip to Cardiff, Wales

If you asked me a single thing about Wales, I’d pretend to concentrate really, really hard like I’m trying to remember that super fascinating thing I learned that one time… but really I’m just stalling, hoping you’ll get bored and change the subject. I don’t know anything about Wales, except that Ioan Gruffud (who I was in looooove with in 11th grade) is from there, and that Cardiff is the (gorgeous-looking) capital (…which is also where the pink, lady-victim from the first episode of Sherlock was from). But Wales, and Cardiff in particular (at least according to the brochure), has a lot to offer, like “innovative architecture,” “unique attractions,” “quality shopping,” and “top class entertainment!” Anticipating checking out these wonders and amazements in person. It’s always fun to explore a new city :D.

DECEMBER
Daley

Aside from the fact that he looks cool as f*ck (especially when his glasses are on), this dude’s falsetto — no, his voice in general — does things to me. I don’t think I need to elaborate. Above is a video of him covering “Chandelier” by Sia (that song everyone is covering now? Yeah, you know the one). My favorite originals of his are “Be,” “Alone Together,” and “Love Somebody.” Favorite cover: “Love and Affection” (originally by Joan Armatrading). Ever heard of Maxwell? Daley is the young, English, pop-soul version of him. Islington Assembly Hall, December 9th. I may or may not attempt to throw myself onstage.

Disneyland Paris
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Y’ALL. There are NO words for how excited I am about this. It’ll be the perfect way to end the semester. Also, hey…Paris. (!!!!!!welfiergfuiewgeulwgliwI;EWIU;WIv;bednsljbf;djigwkewfkywqflqwufgkjhdfjwkabfkw!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

To sum up, I’ve got a LOT of awesome coming my way. I’ll be sure to report back with all the deets when the time comes :). Now I really need a good camera…

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Everything that can go wrong, will.

Y’all… just… Y’ALL.

I woke up this morning, and got online to check the tracking info for my passport. Nothing new since its arrival in Charlotte at 7:00PM and its subsequent departure from that station 6 minutes later. After first receiving that update yesterday, I cancelled my initial flight (at hella expense) and re-booked for this evening because I’d been told by the post office that I should receive my package the next day if it reaches them before their deadline. This morning, after calling the ASKUSPS and Tracking phone numbers only to find that they are having “technical difficulties,” I call my local post office and am given confirmation that if it arrived in Charlotte last night, my package should indeed be delivered to me today. I rearrange my luggage. I take a shower. At 10:30AM, I check the tracking site again.

“You’re package has been returned to sender due to insufficient address at 8:26AM.”

Y’ALL.

I literally screamed.

I re-dial the local office (which I had first called after this last scan supposedly happened, yet the update was NOWHERE to be found on the tracking site until an hour or so later). The line is busy. I redial. The line is busy. I redial 15 more times. Busybusybusy. I want to destroy the earth. I call the USPS Help line. I’m told that I should call my local post office before they succeed in returning the package. Mind you, this conversation is happening about 2.5 hours AFTER the scan saying they had done just that, so I was in the midst of a MAJOR conniption. I call the local office again. I’m put on hold. Twice. Finally, someone manages to wrangle the guy who scanned my package last, and he tells me the address written doesn’t exist. I say, “Yes, it does. I’m calling you from it.” He asks if it’s a new development, and I say it is. He looks it up again, and says the zip code is wrong and that’s why he scanned it the way he did. When I first moved here, I believed my current address was in one zip code, but was told by Time Warner when they came to install that it came up under another. Therefore, the new zip code is what I wrote on the mailing label. However, the actual zip code is the one I’d initially believed it to be.

My main gripe in all this is that I, someone who does NOT work for the post office, am able to go onto the USPS website, put in an address without a zip code, and the site will spit out what zip code said address belongs in. If I’m able to do this, WHY DIDN’T THE POSTAL WORKER DO THIS? Instead of putting the entire address, as-written on the label, into your system and slapping a “Return to Sender” label on it when no matches are found, WHY oh WHY would you not then enter the address on its own to see if a different zipcode comes up?! Obviously he was capable of doing this because he did it when I called! Not only did the man label the package as “Undeliverable as addressed,” but he also checked “No such number” and “No such street,” neither of which is true.

Luckily for me, the package was still at the post office where they scanned it last. So:

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This is my “I am completely, f***ing exhausted” face. This has been the most ridiculous week of my life…and it’s only Wednesday.

But I can finally say with 10000000% confidence that I. AM. OUTTA HERE.

See you in England!!!!